Great excitement was produced throughout the United States by the belligerent tone of the British press in reference to the seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.
A reconnoissance was made in Virginia to-day by a squadron of the First New Jersey Cavalry, belonging to Gen. Heintzelman's Division, under command of Capt. Shellmire. A portion of the squadron, commanded by Lieut. Janville, of Company L, of Jersey City, was ordered to proceed to the Bone Mills, to the left of Springfield station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about seven miles from the Headquarters of Gen. Heintzelman. The company there halted, when the lieutenant, with an orderly, proceeded two miles beyond, but on attempting to return they found themselves surrounded by rebel infantry. The lieutenant was shot in six places, and the horse of the orderly killed. The orderly made his escape. The company in reserve, hearing the firing, proceeded to render assistance, and on their approach the enemy fled, leaving the lieutenant behind, after robbing him of his small arms and nearly all his clothing.--Baltimore American, December 18.
Four companies of Colonel Willich's German Indiana regiment were attacked this afternoon on the south side of Green River, opposite Mumfordsville, Ky., by Colonel Terry's regiment of Texan Rangers, two regiments of infantry, and six pieces of artillery. Colonel Willich, on being reinforced, drove the rebels back with a loss of thirty-three killed, including Terry, and fifty wounded. The National loss was eight privates and one lieutenant killed, and sixteen wounded.--(Doc. 229.)
The bark Island City left Boston, Mass., for Fortress Monroe, Va., with two hundred and fifty of the rebels captured at Hatteras, who had been released from captivity at Fort Warren by the National Government.
Last night a successful little movement occurred on the Cumberland River, near Paducah, which goes to show that our friends in that region are alert and active. It seems that twenty-eight mounted Federals left Smithland on a scouting expedition, and during the evening they happened upon a “corn-shucking.” Thinking to have a good time, they picketed their horses, stacked their arms, and “pitched in.” One of our friends quietly slipped away and gave the alarm to Capt. Wilcox, who, with fourteen of his men, proceeded to the scene of merry-making, quietly took possession of the Hessians' horses and arms, and then captured the whole party, except the captain. The latter endeavored to escape, when he was shot. The prisoners and spoils were carried to Hopkinsville. Capt. W. is now in a condition to treat for the release of a few of his men, including a lieutenant, who were captured a short time since.--Memphis Appeal, December 24.
An expedition, under command of Gen. Pope, successfully cut off a rebel camp near Shawnee Mound, Missouri, and scattered them,  twenty-two hundred strong, in every direction. One hundred and fifty prisoners were taken, with most of the rebels' wagons, tents, baggage, horses, &c. A train of seventy wagons, well loaded for Price's rebel army, was captured.--(Doc. 231.)